As my toddler's appetite for reading and her understanding of language grows, I become more selective about the books I read to my toddler. I curate the books carefully, ensuring the messages align to my beliefs and values.
This is because the messages in books may become our children's inner voices.
When we read positive and uplifting books to our children, their sense of identity and self-worth increases. Books that talk about values help to shape and guide our children's moral compass. Books that touch on failure and not giving up teach our children to focus on the process and develop a strong will to overcome obstacles. Books that describe feelings teach our children to process their emotions and help them understand that all feelings are normal and accepted.
These are the 10+ wonderful, empowering and nurturing books that have permanent pride of place on my toddler's book shelf. I hope your little one enjoys them too.
10+ Books to Empower & Inspire Montessori Toddlers!
1. The Wonderful Things You'll Be
I adore this book for its positive, self-affirming messages. It celebrates children for who they are -- kind, loving, adventurous and creative individuals -- instead of what achievements or abilities they might have. It champions being unique and being appreciated for being different.
The book illustrations are just breathtaking -- heartwarming, gentle, warm and captivating; there's so much beauty and detail in the pictures. True to its message, every individual child in the story is drawn with care and thoughtfulness.
2. The Dot
"Just make a mark and see where that takes you."
This is a poignant story about how a teacher's simple suggestion starts a young child on a self-discovery journey that enables her to unleash her creativity and literally make a mark for herself. In turn, she passes the kindness on and inspires another self-doubting artist.
In a world that sometimes makes us feel that we're not enough, this book reminds us that we all have a little creativity in us, that sometimes all it takes is a little encouragement and faith for us to find it.
3. I Wish You More
This book, true to its review, is hopeful, upbeat and feel-good. The pages are full of love and optimistic vibes, reframing negativity into positivity. It talks about wishing the people we love curiosity and wonder, friendship and strength, laughter and peace.
It is a beautiful book to mark joyous milestones, share encouragement, and remember special moments in childhood by.
4. When You Are Brave
This is a book that inspires children to hold on to courage and let their inner strength shine through, particularly in difficult times and no matter what they're facing.
Children would find the situations relatable -- saying goodbye to neighbors, worrying about new friends, passing through a big city, seeing a dark road ahead. It acknowledges the small, quiet, alone and insecure feelings that come with these nerve-wrecking situations and inspires children to look within for courage and strength.
5. Be Kind
This is a book that inspires rich discussions about what kindness and empathy mean, and how individual acts can have a profound impact on others' lives. It explores how two simple words can change the world.
What I love is that this book is real in addressing an important aspect of the directive "be kind" -- the fact that it can be very hard to show kindness and help someone in a way that would matter, that being kind could elicit negative emotions like frustration and disappointment.
As parents we strive to teach our children to "be kind" but sometimes forget that it isn't that straightforward -- there has to be thought processes, care and consideration in addition to tangible actions that accompany those simple words.
This book aptly points out that kindness goes beyond the intention (a personal desire to be kind) but is also about the determination to problem-solve and find ways to constructively help the beneficiary.
6. You're Here For A Reason
This is a book that reminds us that not only are we loved, we are special and that we matter.
This is a tender and timeless book with gorgeous illustrations of children and animals interacting with acts of kindness.
7. On the Night You Were Born
The words in this book went straight into my heart. It brings to mind precious memories of expecting and loving my child before she was born and the wait for her arrival.
It reminds me on difficult parenting days that she is everything I wanted in my child, that I and the whole world rejoices for her being here.
Note: There are some fantastical elements in the book like polar bears dancing all night to celebrate the child's birth. It would be lovely to explain that these examples are metaphorical ways to add colour and richness to the idea, and not rooted in reality.
8. Whoever You Are
This is a fantastic book about diversity -- that children may not look the same or speak the same language on the outside, but inside they are all alike. Everyone experiences joys, sadness and pain.
The lessons of similarities, differences, tolerance and acceptance is made easy to comprehend for young minds.
9. What Do You Do With An Idea?
This is a remarkable story of how a simple idea from a child can change the world, no matter how little, how big, how odd or how difficult.
10. In My Heart: A Book of Feelings
This book is perfect in meeting the needs of my toddler's emotional development. It explores a full variety of emotions, describing how they feel and look on the outside and inside.
Toddlers will be empowered by new vocabulary to identify and communicate their own emotions. The illustrations are whimsical and there is a tactile die-cut heart that extends through each page, making this book very attractive for little ones.
11. The Way I Feel
This book uses expressive images and simple verses to help children connect the word to the emotion. It sends a very direct message, "these are emotions we feel day in and out, everyone can feel them, and they are a part of who we are". There is no right or wrong to feeling a certain way.
This book provides opportunities to start conversations about what’s going on in our child's life and how she feels about them.
Note: Generalised examples for some emotions are used, like being scared of a thunderstorm at night and wanting the light on. If these are not relatable to your child, you may like to skip or substitute with relevant examples drawn from your child's daily life.
12. The Giving Tree
This bittersweet fictional story is thought-provoking, heartfelt and sentimental. It brings forth the most important question of all time, "Who are the giving trees in your life?" I shed tears the first time I read this book, thinking of my parents.
Another question it brings to mind is, "Is it better to give or to take?" This book offers many teachable moments and lessons to learn about gratitude, generosity, kindness, and when 'giving is enough'.
Book Recommendations for Montessori Toddlers
- Girl-power books for toddlers and preschoolers by Motherly
- Montessori-inspired books for newborns to 6 year-olds Motherly
- Favourite Montessori books by Montessori in Real Life
- Books for Montessori children by The Montessori Notebook
I hope you find keepsakes from the list above that you'll love reading and re-reading to your little ones!
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Hi! I am Yunnie. I am the newly minted mama to a little baby girl and a mum friend to everyone on this special (and many times scary) journey of motherhood. Also a graduated bride with a penchant for weddings.